Is there such thing as being too young to be a combatant in a war? That question is being raised as Omar Khadr gets set to stand trial for allegedly throwing a grenade and killing a soldier in Afghanistan at the age of fifteen. From The Washington Post
The struggle against al-Qaeda has thrown up few detainees with as baleful and unlikely a background as Khadr’s — a father who moved his family to Afghanistan and inside Osama bin Laden’s circle of intimates when Omar was 10; a mother and sister who said the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks were deserved; and a brother, the black sheep of the clan, who said he became a CIA asset after his capture in Afghanistan.
This background has convinced U.N. officials, human rights advocates and defense lawyers that Khadr, a Canadian citizen, was an indoctrinated child soldier and, in line with international practice in other conflicts, should be rehabilitated, not prosecuted.
“The U.N. position is that children should not be prosecuted for war crimes,” said Radhika Coomaraswamy, the U.N. special representative for children and armed conflict, after meeting administration officials in October.
But U.S. government officials said they expect to go to trial at Guantanamo Bay in July and will put Khadr before a jury of military officers on multiple war crimes charges, including murder. Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. has said that the Khadr prosecution is one of six detainee cases assigned to a military commission rather than federal court.
The Buzz honestly doesn’t know where to stand on this one.l On one hand, kids are obviously impressionable and easily influenced. On the other hand, this trial is taking place seven years after the fact, a time which has seen the young man jailed at Guantanamo Bay. Is there a point where rehabilitation does not have the chance to be effective? If so, what do you do with such an individual?